Helping Others is Contagious

Christina - Casa Grande, Arizona
Entered on September 21, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50

Helping Others is Contagious

As a child, I experienced love and compassion from a teacher who I thought was picking on me like all the other students. I was an awkward girl who was unable to run and play like the other children. At first, no one seemed to notice my physical limitations, but as we grew older, the perception changed. I was severely pigeon-toed and had a noticeable gate in my walk. By the time fourth grade arrived, it had grown so bad that medical treatment was needed. However, thanks to a dedicated teacher, it was not necessary. When I was an adult, I was presented with the opportunity to help a friend in need. My fourth grade experience taught me the importance of helping others and inspired me to do the same.

Fourth grade was not one of my most memorable years. My classmates picked on me because I was different. The awkward way I walked made me stand out, but not in a good way. My teacher, Mrs. Bean further aggravated my displeasure because she picked on me like all the other kids. She forced me to stay with her every day during recess. It didn’t matter if it was hot, warm, or cold. My only relief came during rainy days. She made me walk a straight line with my feet in the correct position. Back and forth while my classmates played. I hated her for what she had done to me.

As I grew older, I finally realized what Mrs. Bean had done for me. Because of her persistence and dedication, even over my objections, I would not need medical help to correct my pigeon-toed walk. Without her help, I would have faced an even greater humiliation in front of my classmates. The greatest lesson she taught me was to not give up on those in need. Because of her, I have always tried to help people.

In early 2002, my friend Becky, her husband Michael, and their infant daughter lost their home. I felt compelled to offer assistance. Even though I could not offer money, I could offer a temporary place to call home. The thought of an infant and her parents left to brave the Kansas winter was overwhelming. For the next six months, they lived in the basement of my two bedroom house. At times we did get on each others’ nerves, and I did consider giving up on them. When my frustrations grew, I would think about how Mrs. Bean felt, and did she ever consider giving up on me? They were able to get back on their feet and get their own place. Now Becky and Michael have two more children and live comfortably in Kansas.

The help I received as a child motivated me to be a caring adult. I dedicate time to charity events, and donate goods to those in need. I have experienced physical limitations, and know how it feels to be different. I also know that with dedication and encouragement, all limitations can be overcome. Thanks to Mrs. Bean and the lesson she taught me, I too believe in helping others and feel that I am now a loving and compassionate person.